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Rangers promises to release players for T&T team.
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T&T Pro League campaigners La Horquetta Rangers is re-confirming its commitment to assisting the T&T team ahead of the World Cup qualifying play-offs, by making its players available, but only after the team competes in a high-stake tournament that starts next month.

The club's owner Richard Ferguson is challenging national coach Terry Fenwick and his men, to a $100,000-winner-takes all match, and he said he is prepared to up the stakes by an additional $100,000 if permission is given for spectators to be allowed to enter the playing venue.

That match, it is understood could take place early next week, but Ferguson, in a move to convey his commitment to the country, sought to clear the air on his reasons for not allowing his players to train with the national team, via a letter to the National Team Director Richard Piper yesterday.

In his letter, he said: "We take this opportunity to thank you for considering our players in regards to training with the national team coach, however, after discussions with the club's Board of Directors and coaching staff, it was decided that it was not prudent to release the requested players at his juncture. Please consider the following reasons: (1) We expect to be playing in a league in April with significant prize money and it is very important that we prepare for this league vigorously.

Therefore, we need to have full access to all of our players to compete effectively. (2) Our coaches have developed an extensive training, nutrition and fitness programme for our players for the upcoming competition, and as a result, the absence of key players for such a long time would affect the plans of the club adversely. In addition, our players have been training together for over two years and they are very fit."

Ferguson and Fenwick have been at loggerheads over Rangers reluctance to release its players outside of the FIFA window.

However, with no football taking place for the past year or so, Ferguson has been the subject of much criticism for his stance, while Fenwick's unit remains in dire need of reinforcement.

Rangers, in its letter also pointed out that his team possesses many talents that will be an asset to the country. "However, we stand ready to assist the national senior team with their preparations for the upcoming international competitions. We suggest that we play the national team a practice game where coach Fenwick can see the team in action, and he can then select the players he wishes to play for T&T."

"You should also note that we have expanded our squad over the last 10 months, and we currently have players that coach Fenwick has never seen before and they would be an excellent option for the national team coach to consider."

The T&T team is preparing for its Concacaf World Cup qualifying match against Guyana on March 25 in the Dominican Republic. So far, the team has played an international friendly against the USA and lost 7-0 and last Saturday recorded an 8-0 victory against Orange XI of Tobago.

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Maximo: ‘Jaguars’ can surprise T&T.
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The Guyana senior men’s football team will be highly competitive against Trinidad and Tobago in its first FIFA World Cup qualifier fixture and has a good chance of delivering a surprise, according to “Golden Jaguars” head coach Marcio Maximo.

Guyana face Trinidad and Tobago away in Group F of the first round of CONCACAF qualifying on March 25, followed by a home match against the Bahamas on March 29.

The domestic-based squad is currently in training — five days a week — at the Guyana Football Federation National Training Centre in Providence.

“We have a good chance to deliver a surprise. Trinidad has a track record as participant of the World Cup before, but nothing intimidates us. We know that a difficult challenge awaits us but that is encouraging and motivating us to do better,” Maximo said.

“We go with a good possibility to make a surprise and we will be very competitive. You can’t predict a win but what you can predict is a competitive game. We hope that we will take full advantage of this game. It is not only Trinidad, it’s the Bahamas, St. Kitts and Puerto Rico. The qualifiers are not the starting or finishing with Trinidad so we should make a good start to motivate us for the rest of the qualifiers,” he added.

Only the winner of Group F progress to the second of three rounds of qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Maximo said he was impressed with the level of commitment shown by the squad as players work hard to regain fitness and secure a place in the final squad, after a prolonged layoff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If you train hard with intensity, with tactical discipline and technical discipline, and a physical effort every day, that is reflected during the match,” the former Brazil U-20 and U-17 coach said.

“With our locally-based group, I can see a big development, according to the commitment, intensity and knowledge. They are growing in each training session.”

The former Tanzania, Cayman Islands and Livingston coach supported the GFF’s policy of providing greater opportunities for domestic talent to break into the national squad, as well as bringing in the best overseas-based talent possible.

“Following the Federation’s policy, we need to give a chance to more local players to be part of the group. Internationally-based players are very important for us, with their experience, knowledge and tactical discipline, but together our group also has to be realistic about the development of football in Guyana.”

“Now more than 50 percent of the players are Guyana-based, so we are improving our local football as well as the hope of players to participate and even to go to international markets, especially the younger players.” said Maximo, who worked with Brazilian stars Ronaldo and Ronaldinho during his time with the Brazilian set up.

Maximo said he could sense an increased interest and level of support among the public as the World Cup qualifiers edge closer. “When we go in the street, or take a taxi, I see that people feel more interested in football. I see more people with more hope in the Golden Jaguars now,” he added.

—Courtesy Kaieteur News